50th anniversary of Chum: Celebration of Compassion, Community, and Hope

On June 4, 1973, ten congregations formed an ecumenical coalition known as the Central Hillside United Ministry “CHUM”. This was in effort to minister to the needs of low income and vulnerable people living in their communities.

On Saturday June 4, 2023, the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary with an interfaith thanksgiving service at the First United Methodist Church on Skyline Parkway. This is a milestone for the nonprofit dedicated to serving individuals experiencing homelessness in the Duluth area.

The event serves as the kick-off event for a series of activities and initiatives planned throughout the year to honor Chum’s remarkable legacy and recognize the countless lives it has positively impacted since its inception. Leaders and representatives from various faith communities were at the service to offer prayers, readings, and reflections centered around gratitude, compassion, and the power of community support.

We spoke to Chum Executive Director John Cole, on the importance of the occasion.

“This is a service of Thanksgiving because Chum is faith based. And so, we thought it was fitting to start our anniversary celebrations here at Copper Top, one of the original congregations that started Chum and to also just say thank you to the community and to God for all that has happened to enable them to have come this far in serving the less fortunate in the community. I’m really pumped that everyone is coming out. I’ve just celebrated my second anniversary as the director of Chum. It’s marvelous to be able to join this organization, which is making such tremendous difference here in the community and to receive the tremendous support that she enjoys here.”

Chum has been a pillar of hope in the Duluth community, offering vital services such as emergency shelter, food programs, supportive housing, and advocacy to address the root causes of homelessness. Over the past half-century, Chum has evolved and adapted to the changing needs of the community, constantly striving to provide innovative solutions and empower individuals to regain stability and dignity.